Community Center is a cool place to be

FOR THE SWEETS  —  Wanda Dwello is the assistant cook at the Community Center and is shown here making frosting for a cake.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler





Article submitted by Amanda Younce

My name is Amanda (Mandy) Younce.I took the job as Director of the Community Center in June and am quickly learning my way around the position.

I have lived in Conrad with my husband Cale and our son for almost seven years. There are many ideas I would like to implement, and I look forward to enhancing the lives of the Conrad/Valier Senior Community and bringing more people into our lovely spaces for community and private events.

I am excited for the opportunity to get some activities going on a regular basis that improve both the lives of the community’s Seniorsas well as the populations of Conrad and Valier as a whole.I strongly believe that respect and active support for the generations that come before us is vital for every community to thrive and grow.Relieving the loneliness and boredom that can come along with aging is a huge part of keeping seniors enthusiastic, active members of our community.

I am working on getting daily activities going such as exercise classes, craft days, sewing groups, men’s club, Wii bowling league and so on. Although eating together is a very important aspect of a Senior Center we can be so much more, and that is what I am excited to explore.

We are a non-profit Senior/Community Center located in the heart of Conrad, as well as having one located in the Civic Center in Valier. The Senior Centers receive money from Federal, State, and County funding in order to provide nutritious meals to people over 60. We also gladly accept donations. We offer this service in two ways: as congregate meals in the centers and home delivered meals to those who qualify.For people over 60 there is a suggested donation of $4.50. If you are over 60 and cannot afford to pay this cost we invite you to join us anyway that is why the Older American Acts funding exists.Anyone over the age of 60 cannot be refused a meal for inability to pay. We also encourage the under 60 population to come eat (the cost is $5.50). Our menu is published each week in the Conrad Independent-Observer and the Valerian, so that everyone can plan when to come and eat with us.We offer delicious hot meals with a good amount of variety in the day to day meal planning.We eat at noon and if you would like to join us we ask that you call in by 10 a.m. so we know how much to make.

And now I would like to introduce you to the fine staff waiting to serve you:

Mike Adams has been cooking in restaurants since 1986. He attended culinary school in the Navy in 1989; and has cooked locally at the Pondera Medical Center and the Home Café.He has lived in Montana for four years and has been at the Conrad Senior Center as the Head Cook since March.

He enjoys singing along to the radio in the kitchen and his favorite part of working in the Senior Center is that it gives him a chance to “serve people and make them happy.”

Wanda Dwello is the Assistant Cook at the Conrad Senior Center, and has been here for just over a year.She has lived in Conrad for 33 years, is active in her church, and very active with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I don’t think that she has ever missed a swim meet.When asked why she took the job she said simply, “I wasn’t ready to retire.” When you enjoy visiting with the people who come in every day as much as Wanda does, it just seems to be a perfect match.

Claire Havens is our Senior Surrey driver and has worked with the Senior Center as a former Director and in other capacities for many years.The Senior Surrey provides rides to the elderly in the Conrad area and Claire makes sure that those who call her get to their appointments safely and on time.

Although our Surrey hours have been cut a bit in recent years, we still try to accommodate anyone over 60 who need it.

Linda VandenBos has been the Head Cook at the Valier Senior Center for 25 years, and has achieved a homey atmosphere in which people come to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee before lunch, and seem to have no problem sitting to chat with one another after lunch.

Her easy-going attitude really rubs off on those around her, making it a joy for me to go and eat with the Valier community whenever I am able.

The newest member of our team in Valier is Shannon DayChief, who started in July as the Assistant Cook.

She is enthusiastic and positive and said, “This job makes me very happy”. I am looking forward to getting to know her better as she and I both get settled in to our new positions.

Celena Carroll and LaVon Walston fill in for vacations and illnesses and provide a wonderful back-up team we know we can rely on when needed.

Both Centers also have an amazing volunteer group who not only set the tables each day in the dining area creating a pleasant atmosphere to eat in, but take money from diners, say the daily prayer, and last but certainly not least, deliver the daily meals to the house-bound members of our communities. These people are truly special and we could not do what we do without their help, and their selfless giving of their time and energy.

The Conrad Senior/Community Center is available to rent for $50 a day with a $50 refundable cleaning deposit.If you need the use of our beautiful kitchen it is an additional $50.Given how nice the space is, I would say the potential $150 it might take to rent the center for an entire day is a bargain and helps us to fund activities and events that benefit everyone!Thank you to those of you who already support our facility and we encourage and welcome everyone who would like to come join us.

If you have any questions, want to reserve the Center, would like to volunteer, make donations, or come eat lunch, please call Amanda at 271-3911.